Monday, November 25, 2013

Whiskey You Should Be Drinking - Fall 2013

With temperatures dropping and Thanksgiving right around the corner, you're probably craving whiskey.  At least I am.  Here are some of my favorites of the season, many limited edition, some mainstay favorites.  Run, don't walk to the liquor store.  After all, it's cold out there.

1.  Auchentoshan Virgin Cask - (“ock-un-tosh-un”) virgin cask is a gorgeous limited edition Lowland whiskey.  Only 2,100 bottles of this ambrosia were produced, all triple distilled, and aged in new American Oak barrels (i.e. nothing has been poured into these barrels previously).  On the nose it brings sweet apple, candied orange, hay, cinnamon, and clove, with a touch of toasted almond.  On first taste you get lemon, gingery spice, a bit of heat with a minty mouth feel, and a finish of toasted oak and sweet, creamy creme brulee.  It sips very easily, a clean and crisp single malt a whiskey that could very well bring me into winter.  $86

2.  Peat Monster - 10th Year Anniversary Blend  Peat Monster is a big, smoky, peaty whiskey, and one of my favorites.  The 10th year anniversary blend is a limited edition release of 5,700 bottles, a blend of whiskeys distilled from all over Scotland, and finished in first fill American oak, and French sherry barrels.  Be prepared for strong flavors of smoke, apple, and salt, rounded out with oak, spice, citrus, and caramel.  $99

3.  Cutty Sark - Prohibition Edition - I'm a big fan of this graphic black bottle that harks back to the days when bottles of smuggled booze used to float up on the shores of the North East.  It was made to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Cutty Sark, and the 80th anniversary of the ending of prohibition, and comes it at a hardy 50% ABV.  It's a strong and "challenging" whiskey that has a nose of peppercorn, lime, banana, toffee, and apple.  On the tongue the Prohibition Edition has flavors of sweet caramel mixed with the spice of green peppercorns, wood spice, honey, cinnamon, anise, with a finish of bitter and smoky burnt orange and jammy stone fruits.  $32 

4.  Bulleit 10 Year - Bulleit 10 year tastes totally different from Bulleit proper.  Where Bulleit original is spicy and hot, the 10 year is sweet, fruity, and almost jammy.  Made from a blend of corn, rye, and malted barley, distilled in a coppery still, and aged for 10 years.  The 10 year has some of the signature spicy flavors that come from the rye, but has the enhanced sweet flavors of caramel, vanilla, toasted almonds, and ripe stone fruits.  $50

5.  Johnnie Walker Platinum - I could wax on and on about how much I love Platinum 18 year Scotch.  It's a blend of select casks hand picked from 24 different distilleries, each cask aged at least 18 years yielding this gorgeous smooth whiskey.  On the nose it has aromas of bright clementine oranges, a subtle note of peat, vanilla, toasted almond, and has flavors of smoke, apples, caramel, dried fruit, and a bit of salt.  Platinum has a gorgeous finish, creamy, sweet and salty.  Platinum's touch of sweet smoke is not too overpowering, instead makes this whiskey a refined selection for someone who loves Scotch.  $98

6.  King's County Chocolate Whiskey - A gorgeous infusion of King's County corn whiskey with Mast Brothers Chocolate, that makes a chocolate spirit that is not syrupy or sweet.  Delicious as an after dinner tipple.  $24

7.  Collingwood 21 Limited Release Rye Whiskey - Canadian Whiskey gets a bad wrap.  Stereo-typically lagging behind beloved favorites, you don't hear much buzz about Canadian Whiskeys, which is about to change.  Collingwood is made in Ontario, a fertile region that provides rye grains, and granite basin fresh water.  Canadian rye is distilled three times through copper stills, and aged for 21 years in oak casks, and mellowed in toasted Canadian maplewood casks.  The maple helps make this whiskey the sweet ambrosia that it is - with flavors of citrus and sweet honey.  $63

8.  Whistle Pig - The Boss Hog - Some spirits are made with so much love and consideration it's undeniable.  Whistle Pig is one of them.  Created by Master Distiller Dave Pickerell as a special cask strength single barrel selection of their 24 of the finest 100% rye whiskey barrels, aged just over 12 years.  The Boss Hog is huge.  On the nose it has flavors of the best pie you've had in your entire life.  Cooked stone fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a low note of toffee and burnt sugar.  On the mouth is an explosion of flavor - fruit, spicy rye, clove, dark chocolate, huge flavors of oak and toffee, with a finish of mint and butterscotch.   The Boss Hog is not for the faint of heart, and at this price point, should be reserved for dedicated whiskey drinkers.  $149 

9.  White Pike - What is White Pike?  It's white whiskey, y'all!  I love White Pike, and I have to admit, I don't like many white whiskeys.  White Pike has flavors of sweet corn and toasted tobacco, a fantastic earthy note that performs well in cocktails or when poured on the rocks.  This white whiskey is a blend of organic spelt, corn, and malted wheat sourced from local farmers, distilled in a copper Holstein still by Fingerlakes Distilling, and is aged for 18 hot minutes for it to be classified as a whiskey.  $40

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